New Mexico had long utilized a “straight party” voting option until 2012, when Dianna Duran, the first Republican Secretary of State in New Mexico in 80 years, ended the practice behind closed doors with the stroke of her pen. There was no discussion, no public input and no transparency. Duran’s was a clearly partisan decision – with the full support of her political party – that was part of an overall plan to both undermine trust in our election process and to make it more difficult to vote.
Let’s set the record straight: Duran’s decision in 2012 to eliminate straight ticket voting was the real partisan movida.
Then-Secretary Duran – who ultimately resigned in disgrace after committing campaign finance fraud – actively worked to limit voter participation in New Mexico, with the goal of aiding the Republican Party. Duran was a staunch supporter of photo voter ID, which is used to limit the participation of the elderly, students, and people of color, and she falsely suggested that 64,000 people were on New Mexico’s voting rolls illegally. These actions were not independent of each other. Rather, they were part of a series of actions to suppress the vote in New Mexico.
The final piece of Duran’s voter suppression plan was to eliminate straight party voting. When Duran ended the practice, she falsely argued that the change was due to straight party voting’s lack of presence in law. Never mind the fact that other secretaries of state before her utilized the authority granted to them by the state legislature to promulgate and ensure uniformity of the ballot for all voters across the state. Simply put: the decision to end straight ticket voting in New Mexico was a cynical partisan attempt to make it more difficult for New Mexicans to vote.
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